Zaliya Adamu (not real name) could not hold her tears as she attended to customers who queued to buy pap from her on a Tuesday morning in August.
A night before, her husband who hustle around the city of Lagos returned home very late but with a topic they had debated several times and would always end in deadlock. Citing the difficulties of living in Lagos, her husband wanted her to relocate to Kaduna State where she hails from. But, Zaliya objected. She feels insecure and believes her husband will abandon her and their children.
Her refusal to relocate led to an unexpected divorce. “But this is cruelty,” Zaliya mumbled as she wiped off her tears with her wrapper’s edge.
A BREADWINNER THAT JUST WANTED A CROWN
This was not the first time Zaliya would be divorced. “This is the third time,” she revealed.
She was 17 when she got married to her first husband in Kaduna. Though it was an arranged marriage and she had no option. “Since my parents have decided to give me out to a man I did not choose,” Zaliya said.
For reasons known to her, Zaliya refused to talk about her first divorce. Although she was blessed with three children — two males and a female — with the man. But she lost the males prematurely and found her way to Lagos with the female child where they both lived with her maternal relative. Zaliya relocated to Lagos in 2013.
In Lagos, Zaliya started hawking fruits in traffic. At times, her daughter joined in the struggle from where they gathered money to enrol her in school.
“I was into monthly contribution with some group of northern women in my area, Agege,” she told WikkiTimes. “It was with the money I rented an apartment and enrolled my daughter into a school.”
She had to get her own apartment because the person she was staying with has a husband and four children who crammed in a single room including herself and her daughter.
THE SECOND MARRIAGE, THE SECOND DIVORCE
Zaliya believes a woman without a husband is cursed and may easily turn into an allot. “That is why I don’t despise men who come for me, except I don’t like him,” she said.
Before her second marriage, she had switched from hawking to pap selling. Her second husband was once her customer who often patronise her at an open shop where she sells pap.
“I was interested in him because he did not lie to me. He told he has two wives in Niger State and that he mostly stays in Lagos but without a wife.
“I took him to my sister who I first stayed with when I arrived Lagos and In a couple of weeks, the knot was tied,” she said.
A year after, Zaliya became disturbed. “This man would travel to Niger State to meet his wives and would not return until after six months,” she recalled. “I endured it because I was already pregnant for him, but I never stopped complaining to him but he would not stop.”
Their marriage only lasted for two years. “I sought to be divorced and he did not hesitate. He left me to carter for our child,” she added. Zaliya has one child — a girl — from the marriage. She will clock 10 next year.
‘MEN WILL NOT SEE HEAVEN’
Zaliya’s third marriage did not also end well. It was the cruellest, she believes.
“After sleeping with me overnight, despite nursing a baby, he handed over a paper to me the following morning. I told him I could not read and he said I should find someone to do that for me,” Zaliya stated amid tears. “So I called my neighbour’s daughter who read it out to my ears.”
“It was simply because I refused to be relocated to Arewa (north),” she continued. “He was complaining of hardship in Lagos but I told him that he should not worry about that because I have been doing all things myself including the house rent and sometimes, feeding.”
She added: “He keep repeating it but I did not succumb to his pressure. Sometimes, he refused to come home as a form of protest, but I would not mind until the last time he came home, used and divorced me…”
Zaliya now lives alone with her three children from different men.